tv Book Discussion on Harlems Rattlers and the Great War CSPAN June 21, 2014 7:00pm-8:31pm EDT
>> >> has written widely on the subject of sports and race and has participated and consulted on numerous documentary projects with independent filmmakers and large television networks and now deeply involved in efforts to correct and represent that which relates to the african-american experience and will fight his next book on the subject
and has served on the editorial board of sports history and as the assistant editor of social issues. he has also taught at princeton university and callings college in virginia [applause] welcome to our stage. please make yourself comfortable. before you begin we want to have time for the conversation then at that time i will introduce your conversation parker roger green.
>> you have to listen to the women. [laughter] i should have given her the short version of the of resonates so we could have more time for the discussion but in any event i want to thank the institute dr. patterson for coming up with the idea for this event and to for the support for the center for black literature headed by dr. green and clarence reynolds who have been of great help to of may also of a bike to think roger green who has actually completed
the monumental task of reading this book. [laughter] and lost a lot of sleep last night as a result. let me move on to a brief introduction of "harlem's rattlers and the great war"" i would like to begin first by reading from something that william pickens wrote he was a scholar in activist for the naacp in the early 1900's this is what he says about blacks and the first world war. we tend to overlook it it does in the event with the african-american experience. we talk about the civil-rights movement's and
tie it to the board of education as if 1954 was the start or rows of parked as she reviewed to the first seat on the bus or even world war ii but we don't think of world war i as an important the bint in the history of african-americans here is what pickens had to say about this. what the award made clear to all especially blacks is that character is more fundamental than reputation. that character is more fundamental what does that mean? it means that reputation is something imposed from the outside and character comes from within and one lesson
of a bike for you to take away from this event is that black people need not worry so much about what other things -- others think gore say about them were due to them as what they feel about ourselves that is important. and i will say one thing that i have found as a result of writing this book. we are one and great people to have survived your thrived considering all that we have endured and continue to endure. i should also say i did that at the harvard club a and i left it there but we cannot do it alone. we always needed white friends frederick douglass needed white to friends and the civil rights movement
and today as general james who was a commander of of 369th regiment stand up. and with his lovely wife who is a stol port will you please stand? [applause] but general james knows how important of the success especially after the war and he is said charter member of the veterans' association and his son who was the 13 term congressman was instrumental in the
establishment or congressional approval of the of 369 veterans association but back to william pickens. he said world war i showed clearly that blacks had become from a most undesirable element to the most reliable element in america as symbolized and recognized by calling out of the national guard troops to protect the white house. the war had allowed blacks from africa and america the opportunity to make the first great record as of modern international factor in a positive world
influence and this was a lesson ever to be lost on blacks. world war i help to produce a self confident moody grow and all the change that came later to the floor worth looking people of the time. so that is my introduction to night to contextualized now like to briefly run through the images that in the book to wet your appetite is he will buy the book and i will sign it for you. i hope to increase the value for you laugh. [laughter] and sherry important advances and figures in the regiment has attacks for discussion that professor green and i will have with a commemorated history
presented by the officers of the of regiment of davis senior who was the first black commander and you can see the first of the regiment never lost a man to capture never gave up a foot of ground that had been taken and also the symbol of the rattlesnake that is why the book is called "harlem's rattlers and the great war"" that is what the man called themselves. i believe harlem's hellfighters is something the press would give them and the reason why its stock with its reputation that the most visible symbol after the board was the being and -- the bay and. the 369th was disbanded it was decommissioned it was
not any more after a world war i the ban was the most visible representative they embraced the term harlem's hellfighters and i have seen many ads album covers, etc. i, etc. so that says something. bert williams was an early recruiter and close to william haven and then we have charles young who should have been the first but commander of the regiment in the first commander period and was out of active duty and restored to active duty after the war in and dyed it africa when he is about to beef for africa anodize 1923.
then we see a shot of the men of the national guard which was the result -- original designation. you need to get the book to know he killed somebody in almost destroyed the regiment with his court martial. there we have the men in the trenches with their french helmets', a french equipment but american uniforms and we will see the of rifles and grenade launchers at the bottom have henry johnson and nina of robbers. by the way his application for the medal of honor has passed muster with the secretary of the army now on the secretary of defense desk, chuck hagel as well as the chief of staff or the army chief of staff to see if henry johnson will get a medal of honor.
this is to people who have been misidentified. that is a photograph of him by james finn jersey. a rendering of the battle by henry johnson at the top then the ban and ec they have the brodie black lung -- back then helmet that could have happened before the french or after when they left the french service. these are out west point and they are in color. very beautiful paintings by does perot. we have general james that was there and this was the great assault where the most
obtain their glory. 170 blind individuals received it and the entire regiment did as well. 369th deadline get that monument intel 1997. in the mountains near the german border people don't know there was a can pay their that involved the 369th and below that there is a plaque honoring them for their service this is the area close to the rhine and they read the first to arrive and across. so we have a painting representing the 369 below
that colonel hey word with a number of recipients and spencer that is difficult to see that it he has a metal pin on him is hamilton fish next to him and is who i believe the person most responsible for the regiment's existence. we can talk about that later than widows and mothers of the deceased soldiers and william butler who won the distinguished service cross from barbados. and then henry johnson upon his return, of the parade parade, at the party the people watching and the armory which was building into stages for the administration is building
in 1930 there we have benjamin davis senior first commander as i have indicatedç(çhádn"wnyu(xio+w ar was the sergeant major in the regiment of world war i and roger you can appreciate he was very involved with the state politics. here we have one who wrote songs. i did not know he was of cholera but here is the famous rendering by charles rodgers with the battle of henry johnson. he titled it to first class americans when it was republished in the of black
paper the defender and they said to real americans. they wanted to establish how firmly these people were americans so now to enter a discussion i hope i was not too long. thank you very much. [applause] >> i personally know that there is so much to this story that i can tell you to be sure to review the book there is so much information in there. as we get ready for our conversation now would like to introduce to you professor green.
executive director of the dip voicecenter a public policy at medgar evers college f. think tank dedicated to dedicate best practices that advance social and economic justice for urban communities within the united states and throughout the effort bin diaspore a. he was appointed as the distinguished lecturer within the university of a york in 2006. from 1981 through 2005 served as the elected member of the york state assembly. during his tenure he was widely acknowledged as an expert on educational reform
as a longstanding advocate of civil and human rights to work within the of legislature there reflected his commitment to these principles. and in addition a professor of public administration and publisher of this sudden to re-read based solutions journal. we'll come. [applause] >>. >> this was a monument to of task and we had finals this week. many of my students are cramming. i did last night. [laughter] but it was worthwhile.
and starting with personal reflections of lot of time when you read a historical books of this nature it forces you to reflect on your own personal experience. so to think about my daughter who's served in the military during world war ii. i was an activist against the war. i knew he was not happy about the vietnamese war either. in his last days he called my brother and i to his bedside and said have you prepared? make sure all my stuff is in order i have written everything out. i want to be buried in the military cemetery.
i was shocked. and i want the flag over my casket. i paused i said are you sure? he said this is my country. period. [applause] it hit me so with this book to a great extent to it stirred up some serious immersions. but i want to start the title is "harlem's rattlers and the great war"" the undaunted 369th regiment and the african american quest for equality" and throughout the narrative it is clear you try to articulate the fact that securing african american and regiments or service was like breaking
the class of an error overturned through jim crow laws through oppression and was documented chapter one page 24 you write to black americans have long known there is no better representative in the citizen soldier as a member of the militia could you articulate for us what you meant by that and how you attempted your successfully demonstrated that particular thought throughout your
buck? >> war is the gendering experience. and for blacks to be denied to demonstrate their masculinity will regulate -- relegate them to second-class citizenship. blacks also saw a military participation as an avenue to freedom. we have black participation in the revolutionary war, people would name them selves jupiter liberty or freedom to show they would aspire to freedom if not already. frederick douglass tells black man in new york state calling the colored men to arms that against them and
freedom will lose half of the luster and this is an opportunity for blacks to prove themselves while establishing a national guard unit in new york state was so important to all black new yorkers but especially black men. >> bleeding into another point another chapter alan some states in illinois and chicago they already secured the african american regiment. and europe producing stare very hip the first with population and money and holland had not achieved the success. so i think it was one of the editorials that blasted the community and said the first
is a big social organization. [laughter] then those societies that buried the dead. >> but no political power whatsoever. and tammany hall is a monster. it is controlled by irish-americans the republicans take black for granted and tammany cannot stand them they set up the united cover democracy britches of black of silvery of tammany hall but at the city wide level. as you know, as a former assembly man and i hope i can call you politician. [laughter] that has become such schaede dirty word but the action is
the precinct at the warda level is where the spoils are in chicago blacks work that system to the men among disadvantaged. did you hear what i said? and among disadvantaged. they were able to use the political clout in illinois with a black regiment first called the 16th battalion in 1878. more over that was officered by blacks from the top down and it became the eighth illinois in the 1890's and that became a source 74 black men yorkers who was the mitropoulos them lester says chicago not only has
the regiment's but we don't even have a black theater in new york. >> right to. and my sense is you describe that the political process is in new york city was dysentery is that one of the reasons why they were not able to organize themselves? >> you also know the blacks were fighting among themselves. [laughter] and one of of major instigators of fiction was booker t. washington. we think of him as a southern operator but he had operatives all over he was the tuskegee machine and also a large control of
black newspapers and charles sanderson was his man in new york and kept a booker t. washington apprised of everything going on and he was a stalwart republican and no matter what the democrats might try to do for the blacks in the regiment was one of those the republicans believe the democrats would get credit and would block it if not politically then the national guard and leadership will block it in john francis o'brien was connected tear tammany hall and extremely hot style to new the idea of a black national guard regiments. >> he is the commander of
the new york national guard as a major general and to become police generator and teeeight did not want to a black national guard. of those but it is even longer but it is about prestige and status and employment opportunities that they did not want blacks to have. that is the way that they saw things. so not only blocking the establishment of the regiment when it is finally approved he make sure it is of white commander as part of the deal and he believes there will be no black officers by the time it is federalized and goes to europe. that did not have been napoleon harvard law school
graduate attended black 70 been to win the captive and established a provisional benjamin to essential to the establishment of the of recognize regiment. but he was a lieutenant in the machine-gun battalion. then banned george macy was an attendance as well. >> condition those who try to secure the regiment, could you describe the role of the media or the black press in new york city? him in chicago defender in
military you were part of the oppressor if you are not part of the solution your part of the problem. search of a the military was seen as part of the problem. the boy is was ambivalent but then the came out with the encouragement of the blacks to support the war effort and he was criticized very much. and tried to regroup earlier in telling plaques to put the grievances aside during of war effort. many people don't know dubois supported wilson for president. eric city
so republicans are taking blacks for granted. that you could not drive blacks out of the party with the sledgehammer despite the fact that especially with taft engaged with the lily whiteism removed a them all over the nation but especially the south. >> you paint the picture of the social forces way across the entire community and why this could be something they could galvanize around. the part of the book that is fascinating this gentleman with equity congress and how day secure the of a regiment
even coming back from the of war in the attempt to preserve it and ensure that there are african american and offices. >> with the black commander. >> it is interesting that is supposed to be a non-partisan operation but now a staunch republican and that causes serious problems within the equity congress because there were a number of democrats as well as frank we tin was one of them a and there was warfare within the equity congress to destroy the of movement by the of way. >> what is fascinating is they could organize with over 4,600 people. >> the fact that he could
keep together a unit to that was established in 1911 of 1,000 men? through 1916 despite all the obstacles thrown in their way. with the a disparagements of him for the way the officers were selected even colonel marshalled was part of who came tournai york that was the official conference of the 15 new york. in the report was highly a critical meeting to the
construction when the legislation in a cave from albany with did democratic governor to be impeached and convicted and removed from office eventually the order was this regiment was to be formed to entirely within 90 days but the leadership decided they would muster in the regiment company by company to drag out the process and decide it every man that care for examination to become an officer in the regiment. later in the administration of 1916 said it was of a joke they never took it
seriously. to keep it together in behalf of us in the your guard chasing down through the national guard and whitman is a pro or republican to cd opportunity to be established with the compromise to general o'brien and but there is very few black officers. >> two now find we have a regiment road where one begins says he goes into
world war i african americans in the regiment that are directed to self airliner -- spartanburg south carolina for training so in this particular chapter you talk about the of war over there and here and those racial attitudes with the regions of the south with the question of slavery. why don't you talk about that? >> there was great concern about sending the regiment into spartanburg south carolina.
in fact, hamilton fish had written to franklin roosevelt at the time who had become dire animes later on but he grew up with roosevelt in he was the assistant secretary of the navy and he wrote to him why are you sending the black troops into a hostile territory? as predicted there was racial friction from the beginning and the spartanburg fault said period know how to do with our black folks but you are bringing down the number the grows you don't know their place and there was also puerto rican as. they were prepared and hay
word had to do talk to his mae and about not retaliating against any type of racial epithets or physical assaults and within the 27th division with the national guard this black regiment is recognized sinn new york state and not the organic part of the national guard and in fact, is, third is the term used in the regiment also with the a provisional brigade so it is like a detached a appendage
so that 27 division was down in spartanburg but it was separate from them even in spartanburg at the same time but some of the of men stood up for those black soldiers of the national guard and then to say get the of men out of here or we will have a race riots on our hands. >> in thin with parts of the book to use the term retaliation so much of the of popular media that we see with the of role during that period is perceived as passive but the theater that
the white folks had to what african mulch -- american soldiers has of massacre in st. louis and then to take revenge on something that happened to a black woman. and of course, 38 members of that 24th regiment were summarily executed there were to be many more that would follow but to involve them solace to hold off on a execution and then do procedures in the review process to be put in place
but there was fear of what happened in spartanburg. >> it is interesting to restrain himself after being abused and beaten in a the hotel white soldiers coming to his defense but you say a b. ting is one thing but if there was a lynching there was the essence that the african-american and the soldiers would most likely retaliate. >> i would agree so don't put this all on the south. this had trouble in dan long
island. end with new jersey that is very close that there was incidents that occurred. and to there was the alabama regiment given the man of the 15th and hamilton and involved himself with that he was a black boxer by david george kid cotton. and they were ready to take on an ague comers but they did not have the ammunition but fish said they were prepared and the alabama regiment knew it sam plot -- backed off but they have brutalized before to poke
out his eyes and throw him off the train and got away with it scot-free in the southern officer causing all kinds of problems but the feeling was lady to get those guys overseas to fight the end of the. >> so what happens? what is the difference in terms of their reception? >> we missed a step because originally this is how it happens. higher today become the 369 from the 15th? and many of the bet would hold on to zagged designation to call themselves the fighting 15
after the war story that they carried the state flag throughout the war. without their knowledge they were part of a provisional 93rd division that would include a and addition to the eighth 11 why that was combination of the national guard and regular army and the 372nd that was all regular army in the provision of regulation only existed on paper but not as a real division on the ground. in fact, 369th was over there long before the 370,
371, 372. but dba labor operation of our men were unloading ships as pioneers in bridge builders and tracklayers and can now diggers, a seoul headword would go to the headquarters to say our men were trained as combat ends and you have them doing labor duties this is a waste of manpower and more all is down but the designation 369 is for a draftee unit and they are a volunteer national guard. but what tipped the scalessc to go into space combat the french were desperate for reinforcements and the
commander who would be disgraced in a world war ii was a distinguished general in world war i won't give them any whites reinforcements because america wants to take credit for winning the war to be there one year to win the peace or to position themselves. so there is a back-and-forth with the war department whether they will allow it to and finally by march of the 369th that they learn from their designation is from the french then not long after they are on the front the greatest episode in the history of the regiment takes place that is
the battle of henry johnson and as i mentioned in the beginning he has passed his application for the medal of honor that the secretary of the army has approved it now with is with chuck hegel and the chiefs of staff. >> henry johnson and his story that i heard in albany because he was from there, the state capital and i remember a gentleman organizing the issues to secure resolution sent to congress on his behalf to have them recognized then eventually bill clinton gave him a an award or recognition. >> with clinton he had a purple heart and many felt
that was a way to undermine his ability to get him to receive a medal of honor to take so print out of the sales. >> but second the difference of treatment compared to the united states? >> first of all, this is something that gets lost. and dr. green said it well whether they and the exile it was a deliberation. and one of the things that gets lost with the benefits of going to the french, they knew how to fight a moderate more. americans were terribly
prepared for a modern war and they were still an advocate of the riflemen and the entrenched warfare. this is a high in the mechanized operation in that 1 foot of ground means something. they could train these men much better than the american counterparts and were told by the upper echelon leadership you have to treat these men with respect. it doesn't mean that the french were deployed of racialism but they saw black americans is differently than the colonial subjects they saw them more american and an african or black that they had grown up in the
cradle of civilization as a culture coming from new york so very good in a short period very good treatment and for the most part out of reach as saying that killed in the affairs except for one thing. i should not say that but they remove all the black officers from the regiment july 1918. so they try to win a war but it is more important to maintain that racial status quo to not have black officers prove themselves the one that left briefly but then returned to he
needed him florida bay and that the other part as general james well knows the of backbone of a military organization is the noncommissioned officers and it had great noncommissioned officers i could go on with those non commission and officers they could not become commissioned officers and many had outgrown their rank but could not become commissioned officers in the 369 dan birch transferred out and they wrote about the resentment they had because these inexperienced underqualified less competent white officers were placed in the regiment over them.
stay maxilla the battle of henry johnson i notice you put quotes around it but with roberts you did. >> good point. it was actually to man henry johnson and roberts that was involved in the of engagement as the party came up on the outpost matt johnson and roberts were manning. and one was knocked out pretty yearly in the skirmish but continued to throw grenades and was carried off and henry a.
johnson who had shot some of ready with their rifles gm to use the but on another guy then they were tracking roberts away the before henry could get to help lead german came up and he patted him with the bolo knife and hater he jumped on top of the germans and dragging him away then took his knife to jimmy it through the head of one of the germans and with that it was time to make a hasty retreat. what happened to that in fact, pershing mentions henry johnson by the first and last name roberts by only one name in his
partner in this event. that's how much the attention focused on henry. and of course needham is nowhere to be found in the parade. i do have footage of the parade and you can see henry johnson standing with flowers in his hand and acknowledging the crowd during the parade but he became the man. in fact when hayward and gave a speech in albany after the war it was with henry johnson and the flyer or the bill for the events that come here our heroes. >> so need him -- and this was a problem for needham. it caused him i think mental anguish that he had become forgotten. in fact he wrote a pamphlet which basically tried to put him back in the center of the offense and they actually competed for speaking
engagements. henry would follow need him around and tell him i am the real hero. >> i just got a signal to try to conclude and summarize but i think this is appropriate because you were talking about them coming back. the sense is that you already talked about they came back feeling as though they were the new blocks based upon a new sense of self-confidence, pride based upon this service. but at the same time they face the reality of a country that was still in the grips of basically racial apartheid. could you describe what happened in reference to the treatment when they came back as related to the organization of the tributes, the parades and then more importantly what happens to
their regiments? >> okay. the interesting thing that i don't have in the book that i just found out is that when the men returned, i have already mentioned that the regiment was disbanded and a lot of people don't know that but the regiment was at camp upton and that is where they would be discharged from camp upton is the new rochelle area on long island sound. there was an order from general mc michael who was the commandant of that camp that the black soldiers could only visit the black hostess hut which is like a canteen with soldiers at that camp. that became a cause. here we have these men who fought for freedom a war to make the world safer, democracy and new york is that -- is not a
safe democracy or we are not safe in it. in the parade, some people see the parade which is by many accounts a glorious occasion. no question when you see the reaction of the crowd that there's a back story there. the war department didn't want the parade to happen at all. they just wanted to release the men. then what there was once again some white help from a group called the rocky mountain club which is a group of mining engineers. herbert hoover was a member of it. they pressed for allowing these people -- mike rodham wannemacher was also very important as well. rub them on a make or department store which is big in philadelphia and new york and so the war department says we will let the original 15th man, the men of the 15th march so that would have been maybe 800 or 900
men. we are talking close to 3000 men of the 369th and the press of display that you see with this parade will let you know the concerns that they had about allowing these guys with these bayonets glistening like in a describe them in the press is 7 feet tall looming giant and all of that. so it was threatening but the rocky mountain club says these men all fought. let them all march and they marched on february 17. david levering lewis says that this ushered in the harlem renaissance and to get to professor greenspoint what happens in the summer of 1919 rides across the nation and the nation and guess what? black soldiers, black veterans have both eyes on their backs. they had better not wear the uniform especially missile.
>> they would be lynched because they were wearing the uniform. see somebody is covering. >> let's try to conclude. my last question would be what would be the compelling interest you have in writing this book? what motivated you to write this and what particular new knowledge did you find in writing this particular book? >> what motivated me was how important this regiment was and is and the sacrifice that these men made and the justice that they deserve was not given to many of them if any during their lifetime and you see through the book is dedicated to, right? it is dedicated to the men of
the 15th/369 to serve and sacrifice and while that supported them. we didn't mention the 15th women's auxiliary which was important to the regiment success and maybe that will come up in a question and answer period but that was the key for me to tell the story that the men deserved to have told about them. there's just so much in terms of the sources that we have used and the research that we have done and we also expanded the coverage. we start much before other scholars do in terms of the regiment's history and we finish a lot later. we bring the regiment up to the president but also we focus on that post-war period and a lot of people don't realize that their regiments didn't even exist when they came back.
>> professor this is an incredible book and i want to thank you. there is a part here that says with sweeping vision of historical precision and i will agree unparalleled research. i can't imagine the documents that you had that you researched and the visual artifacts and diaries and letters to come up and to contextualize all that information in this particular book. it's an incredible book. i would suggest to the audience this is a cursory analysis. go out and buy the book. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> thank you so much. thank you to professor green and thank you so much to professor sammons. now before we adjourn to our concessions we would like you to
share your questions. i would like you to direct those questions to clarence ronald standing at the side of the mic. clarence is the director of the center for black literature so please direct your questions there and may i interject that one question professor sammons? >> no, let the people. >> good evening and thank you for all of your information and your research. i'm a natural hairstylist and you just mentioned something about the 15th women's exhilarated i wanted to know more about it since i haven't read your book but recently in "the new york times" there was an op-ed article where the united states military had created an article called 670-1 and it spoke about twists in dreadlocks and natural hairstyles that we wear in our communities and just listening
to the list of discrimination and racism back then with over 20,000 black women in the military today, they are focusing on our hair and not so much on the battlefield and i just wanted to find out more about the 15th regiment. >> i want to ask you a question. i meant to follow up on it. did the military decide to allow seikhs to wear the head wraps? >> i'm i've not shared. >> i heard they might have. oh it is. okay. that's kind of a related thing but no question. let's get to the larger issue. there's a racial issue and there's a gender issue as well and we know the military has not been kind to women and still is not and we know what is happening with the sexual assault which is rampant in the military.
but the 15th women's auxiliary was headed by susan elizabeth frazier. anybody ever heard of susan elizabeth frazier? i'm sure that dr. patterson knows the first black woman to teach in an integrated school in new york city. the black teachers have to teach at an all-black school and they didn't teach an integrated or white schools. the lengthy court battle for her to achieve this remarkable you know stature, that was in 1895. she was the president of the women's auxiliary. mc laughton who have these women's clubs was the vice president and charles ward fillmore's wife marie was a secretary.
his daughter was also in the 15th women's auxiliary. what did they do? they help the families of the men with finances but with supplies, with food. they help the men. you wouldn't believe what the men in the regiment did didn't have. we would think that this would be an offer issued by the military. it wasn't. toothbrushes, columns. all these things the women's auxiliary provided but something else too. the silent protest march of 19 1917. and the women were very important in the organization. we always hear about a philip randolph and oswald garrison a large at the women were very important. they were front and center in this march but also made statements about what they wanted and basically they were demanding that if this is to
make the world safe for democracy then we have to be beneficiaries of this new democracy in america. so they were also voices and in fact mc laughton would sign a petition and one of the official representation with president wilson because wilson wasn't doing anything about what happened in east st. louis. that is why we have the silent protest march in theater roosevelt came out and attacked wilson for not doing anything about this atrocity. >> may be could give the people the details about the st. louis atrocities. >> well, it's a complicated thing. you know there were questions about black threatening white economic interests.
there was an accusation that somebody had raped someone, a black man was lynched by a mob and there was actually, the other thing is no protection from the illinois national guard. the governor didn't send anyone out and people were saying if you send the eighth illinois out then what happened after that initial lynching would not have occurred. the wholesale massacre of blacks in east st. louis. the migration is a factor and a whole bunch of issues and then you have a catalyst for accusations of rape. see if you have questions please line up.
>> good evening. i appreciate the information that you are giving is very interesting and you keep mentioning and i heard you mention noble system. are you talking about the precision and also i heard you mention theodore roosevelt. stupid printed 69th have anything to do with the roughriders? >> no. they came later. there was no 15th in the spanish-american war. now charles ward fillmore did serve and i'm glad you raised the issue but the spanish-american war. charles fillmore served in the spanish-american war. he had been a major in the ohio national guard and was commander of the battalion there. and he was put in a unit called the -- there was a believe in
the government and within the military that blacks were immune to tropical diseases so they used on malaria and yellow fever they used blacks to serve as nurses for those who contracted these diseases and guess what happens? blacks die as a result. in fact filmore contracted malaria but recovered from it. but you asked another question. noble sissel was recruited by james recio are to be in the regiment. he was the drone major. a lot of people think that bill bojangles robinson was the drone major for the regiment because of stormy weather and all of that with the regiment. gillard thompson replaced noble sissel as the drone major but noble sissel was a sergeant and he was transferred out.
the other thing that a lot of people don't know about, they think about him with eubie blake and your broadway shows that he was a very famous bandleader. he had a big orchestra for many many years. i think noble sissel died in 1970. >> 72. >> one more question. james reads what led to his demise? do you have any details about that? >> well you would have to read the book. [laughter] the heat had a mentally disturbed member of the regiment who had come out of an orphanage and the guy stabbed him after a concert during a concert in boston. with a pin knife and it right artery or whatever and that was the end. 1919 in the man is gone. >> thank you.
>> good afternoon. my name is donald. i'm the chairman of the research foundation and i am here representing randall. [inaudible] i got in a little late so i really don't know. was there a tie-in to jack dobson and jim were sure? >> i don't know if any to be perfectly honest. there might be but i did not make that connection between europe and jack johnson but let me say something about randy. one is he told me watch her struggle with finishing the book in time for this event. [laughter] randy said he would have to take a cruise to finish. [laughter]
but also people please mark your calendars. general james and mrs. james, november 9 and 10th there will be a symposium on harlem's rattlers at nyu and randy westin is giving a concert on november 9 with the music of james reese europe. it's going to be at 6:00 p.m. on november 9. randy westin in concert to which you will have to promise he will come to the events the next day. on monday. see he is also appearing at the end of the month at concord baptist church. but my information about jack johnson and reese's all dealing with the racial climate in jack
johnson had a racial situation here. our people were catching hell than. i can't help in the racial climate. so i see what has to happen and people have to understand this was not just one part of the country. it was heavy up here. and it's heavy all over so the civil rights and 1965 change a lot of things pretty can take it for granted if you want to but i never thought i would live to see the time that we are living in today back in 1930 in and 1940 in 1950. i'm glad i came because you connect so many of the dots about the social climate and all
that at that time and he can even go back but these are the things we have to know. we have to know about this so she'll economic and political situation of that time. we pass by and we don't understand it's our job to take us from that first thing all men are created equal and thousands of blacks gave their lives. we are still in that revolution but we keep forgetting. so we get a little prestige and it's about our freedom. that's the thing i would like to. >> in my opinion with a topic like this room should be full. i know with the advertising that was given there is no excuse.
that's something that we really have to work on. as i was saying if you had snoop dogg and hear the line would be down whatever of their street. >> the thing of it is this we have to understand marketing. we can't just give great affai affairs. we have to target the market and all this because this is something awful lot of people should be made aware of. you're not going to solve anything until you look at our history. >> we thank you so much for that comment. thank you so much. applause felt the history does repeat itself and i want to thank you again professor sammons and professor green. one of the issues you raised with the impact of the media on
the regiment and on this story and what was fascinating to me initially reading it was when he talked about stormy weather and how that impacted on the telling of that story. can you share that with us and also share with us how the media really misrepresented what was happening in terms of the regiment? >> well i mentioned the name hellfighters stock in part because of the bands being representative of the regiment and not only was it a representative of the regiment that came to be synonymous with the regiment at a certain point. in fact in a scholarly book this person writes that james reese europe was the leader of the train and 69.
not just the band but the 369th. bill bojangles robinson i thank is thought to have been a member of the regiment because of his role in stormy weather and you know he mentions they got the quartic air and how many days they were on the front etc. but the prominent players in the film are james reese and ernest whitman plays the role and dooley wilson and bill bojangles robinson who are both members of the band. the combat hero is dead. the so-called clime rogers who is a fictitious character and he is supposed to be selena lewis lena horne's brother and there is some mention that he wanted selena to have it and then she
wears it and i go into a lot of detail about the symbolism of that but that's the end of any discussion of the combat role of the 369th. the movie and in fact there's a magazine that bill williamson is reading that says recognizing the great accomplishments of blacks to the world of entertainment. that's paraphrasing but as if blacks couldn't be lawyers doctors teachers etc.. it's all about entertainment and that is what the film is about although the 369th introduces the film and in fact it goes from showing actual footage of the parade to this sort of soundstage view and that it evolved into literally in the
middle of the film. in fact a couple of black face minstrel's and even the dance at the armory or whatever it is has these black women dancing to deputy duda or whatever and sunflowers on the back which make them look as though they are in black face. the interesting thing is all the white women -- black women are light-skinned and a black women can be a variety of shades of black women have to be light-skinned. that's in the entertainment world. but let me tell you something about the department store. in 1934 there's a boycott of blumstein's department store. adam clayton powell, right? they settled but guess what the
agreement entails plex we will hire black women. you have got it already. we will hire black women because before you could only be janitors or elevator operators but they have to be light-skinned. that's the truth. see it's still true today. professor sammons professor green thank you so much and we want to thank our audience for coming out. thank you professor green, the head of the english department and clarence reynolds director of the center for black literature and all of our senior military personnel we thank you for coming out. and again this is a pivotal moment in our history. we are able to tell our story for real.
and not leave anything out, the good, the bad the ugly. it's all in the book. so you need to go and get the book. teach this to your children. we are going to bring it to our teacher said that they have it as a resource. keep this story going. keep the story alive and make it possible for other stories to be told. thank you again for coming out. thank you medgar evers college and we hope to join you again on another evening and thank you to c-span for taking the time to come out in film this. thank you so much. applause co. [inaudible conversations]
>> the thesis of the book is that there's a whole group of people in america and infect a big a big swath of america bad is being ignored, left behind not included in the discussion i think for either party particularly i would argue the republican party. i call it blue-collar conservatives, the folks out there that are working people most at home don't have college degrees, folks that really still understand the value of work and the importance
of work and responsibility and people who understand the importance of family and faith, believe in freedom and limited government. so you say wow those are conservative republican voters and in many cases they are not. in fact a lot of them are not voting at all because they don't see either party talking to them about the concerns they have in trying to create an opportunity for them to live the american dream. sitting next to an interview with journis